Flush w/ Lasse Girs [Musician Interview]

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Who inspired you to make music?

It must have been all the music I have heard since childhood. I believe it’s all there in the mix; the stuff my parents listened to, what was played on the radio and TV, and the first records I got into as a kid. But the big push to start writing songs of our own and be more structured about the band was the punk and alternative rock scenes of the late 80s and early 90s. The most important band back then was Bad Religion, but there were many others too: Nirvana, Sonic Youth, Mudhoney, Soundgarden… all the good ones. I was also massively into Pavement, who just had the best attitude towards music and great songs.

What is your creative process like? Do you start with lyrics? Instruments? Concept?

Songs can start anywhere. Some start with a lyrical idea, others with a guitar riff. Often, I also have some melodies or chord progressions that I’m working on and trying to build into songs. Some of our songs are also re-built from older ideas that didn’t quite work in their original form. Currently I have one potential song that is just a title for now, but it’s a good title and in itself essentially a full concept. So yeah, I’m not a one-method songwriter but instead more all over the place trying to find things that work.

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What do you feel is the best song you have released/written and why?

It is totally unfair to pick a favorite child… but I guess I have no choice now. At this point I feel ‘Cheap Beer’ on our debut album is that song. It’s not the most complex song and it does not have the most innovative chord progressions, but it just somehow works. The lyrics, the riffs, the drive… and it also has a middle-eight. The lyrics are important and meaningful in that song, and it works really well live too.

What is the best advice you’ve been given?

Over the last couple of years, we have received a lot of valuable advice from many people, and there are about a handful of highly trusted advisors we’ve worked with. One of them is the producer of our album, Mr Hiili Hiilesmaa. The advice we have gotten includes everything from song production and recording to gig bookings and PR. I’ve also researched and read a ton about how streaming services and copyright work, and obviously spent hours and hours studying guitar gear. However, there is no one specific piece of advice that would stand out. We listen to pretty much everything and everyone who want to share their knowledge with us, and it is all highly appreciated.

If you could be any kind of cookie, what would it be and why? (Most important question)

Ah, the classic and obvious cookie question! Just kidding… obviously we’ve not had this one before. In our music we want to blend familiar sounds into something original and add some dark and melancholic twists to it. Based on that, a Flush cookie should start with something classic, like chocolate chips and maybe a little bit of caramel for additional sweetness. Then we add a twist, which in this case would be a Finnish delicacy called “salmiakki” (salty liquorice). I might actually try this one day.

How do you feel the Internet has impacted the music business?

Massively. I’ve also discussed this before and it’s a topic I have strong opinions about. Most important is to break this topic down into meaningful subtopics. One of them is the transition from physical recordings to digital and then streaming. The other big topic is the networking aspect and social media. The music industry failed miserably in understanding both of these, especially the move from physical music to digital and streaming. Artists suffered the most, which is understandable as they are not equipped or organized to manage an ecosystem change like that. All credit to the Metallica guys for fighting for copyright, but at the same time everyone missed what was happening with technology and failed to seize that opportunity constructively. The fact that Spotify now generates huge revenues as practically a streaming monopoly and severely underpays its content producers, is just something that happens when revenue focused tech and biz people decide to make music a commodity and a service. We are rapidly moving to a world where music is a revenue-driving commodity service created mostly by artificial intelligence trained to imitate what was once an original artform. We have to fight really hard to keep music a creative artform with other meaning to society than just background music owned by the AI-powered businesses. To be clear, the move away from physical devices, like those horrible plastic CD cases, to more sustainable and distributable formats was great. That is not an issue at all. In fact, it’s superb for distributing music. My issue is with the business model.

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On the other topic of networking and social media, I also have gloomy thoughts. Again, networking and connecting with people from everywhere in the world, is great. We have surprisingly many listeners in Latin America and we have no clue why. But what sucks is the fact that we, as a small band, are dependent on feeding these twisted social media machines, that, again powered by AI and based on greedy business models radically mess people up. We’ve seen the impacts of these platforms on society in recent years and it’s not great that artists have become so dependent on the same machinery.

If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be?

It would start with a simple recognition: Music is art. The purpose of art is to create something new that challenges our thinking, educates us, moves us emotionally, etc. The purpose of music is not for big tech or any other enterprises to make money. We need to shift the revenue streams to the artists and creators, and I don’t see this happening without legislative and regulatory changes.

What is the most useless talent you have?

Ouch. Another tough one. None. Everything I know I put into use somewhere, somehow. (This is another way of saying I don’t have many talents.)

When you’re done with music, what do you want people to think when they talk about you and your work?

I would hope they would talk about the songs and the shows. Maybe of how it was a fun night of drinks and solid, live music. Or maybe about how songs like ‘Chemicals and Conversation’ and ‘Tiny Changes’ made them realize they need to look after the health, both physical and mental, of their best friend.

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What is your most recent project/upcoming project?

Our most recent project was our debut album that came out in October 2020. It is called ‘It Began as a Mistake’ and is a good representation of what we are as a band. It’s got punk rock and alternative rock, some power pop and some hard rock, and some elements of metal and experimental rock. Things have been rather quiet last year because of obvious pandemic reasons, so now we are working on some new materials while waiting for the live scene to open again.

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